Apr 6, 2013 at 3pm UK at ​bet365 Stadium
StokeStoke City
Aston Villa
Kightly (80')
Shotton (63'), Shawcross (65'), Adam (90')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Lowton (87'), Agbonlahor (9'), Benteke (90')
Agbonlahor (36')

Match Analysis: Stoke City 1-3 Aston Villa

Match Analysis: Stoke 1-3 Villa
© Neal Simpson / PA Photos
Sports Mole analyses Aston Villa's 3-1 victory over fellow relegation contenders Stoke City in the Premier League at the Britannia Stadium.

Matthew Lowton scored an 88th-minute wonderstrike to help Aston Villa move out of the Premier League relegation zone with a 3-1 victory over Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium.

After Michael Kightly had cancelled out Gabriel Agbonlahor's early opener, Lowton netted a superb 30-yard volley to restore Villa's lead that would later be made secure by Christian Benteke.

The result sees Villa climb up three places to 16th place in the Premier League table, one point behind Stoke, who are now deep in relegation trouble themselves.

Below, Sports Mole analyses whether the result was reflective of the action in the Potteries.

Match statistics

Shots: 6
On target: 2
Possession: 46%
Corners: 4
Fouls: 16

Shots: 11
On target: 8
Possession: 54%
Corners: 2
Fouls: 11

Was the result fair?

It would have been an injustice had Kightly's equaliser denied Villa maximum points because the visitors were much the better of the two sides on show. They showed more attacking intent, more creativity and, surprisingly, more defensive stability than a Stoke side who were second best in almost every department.

Stoke's performance

This is quite clearly a Stoke team short of confidence. Their lack of goals, just seven in their last 13 matches, has been well publicised, but it is their defensive form that is even more concerning. It's quite simple, really. A side that aren't scoring goals and are conceding a considerable amount are going to struggle, and that was evident this afternoon as they lacked potency at one end and organisation at the other. This could be the poorest Stoke have played since their promotion to the Premier League.

Villa's performance

Villa have played better going forward in spells this season, but, after opening the scoring, they managed to keep the ball well and proved to be an attacking threat, especially on the break. Their defence was rarely tested, but stood up to Stoke's supposed set-piece threat well and appeared to be as solid as they have been at any time this campaign. They certainly showed character after Stoke's late equaliser, and they will need to show even more if they can accomplish their quest for top-flight safety.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Matthew Lowton: Only time will tell just how important his goal will be for Aston Villa. No time is needed, though, to gauge the quality of Lowton's strike. Thirty yards out, the full-back chested down a Stoke clearance and hit a superb dipping volley into the top corner past Asmir Begovic. He didn't enjoy his best game in defence, but a moment of magic like this at such a vital time in such a vital game is priceless and worthy of this award.

Biggest gaffe

Stoke's defending for the first goal was especially poor, with Matthew Etherington and Geoff Cameron responsible. The former allowed Lowton to get free on the overlap and Cameron then got the wrong side of Agbonlahor, who took advantage of his bad positioning to give Villa the lead.

Referee's performance

Mark Clattenburg turned down two Stoke penalty shouts for handball, both of which the Potters will feel could have been given. The first of these appeals, on Nathan Baker, did not appear to be deliberate but Ron Vlaar seemed to move his arm towards the ball in the area late on, an offence unseen by Clattenburg.

What next?

Stoke: The Potters are now right in the relegation mix and things don't get any easier next week, with Manchester United visiting the Britannia Stadium.

Villa: A home game against Fulham, which is a great opportunity for Paul Lambert's side to move further clear of the bottom three.

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert celebrates his side's second goal in their match with Reading on March 9, 2013
Read Next:
Half-Time Report: Villa hold crucial lead
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